Turn clutter into cash with a garage sale

Garage or yard sales can be a great way to make a little money, especially in a tough economy. Below,
Donna Smallin, professional organizer and author of A to Z Storage Solutions, offers a few tips to keep
in mind while planning a sale. Looking for the perfect date? Aug. 10 is National Garage Sale Day.
¥ Collect Your Inventory – Yard sales are a great way to get rid of clutter and make a few bucks, but it
can be difficult to decide what to part with. As a general rule, if you don’t love it or use it, lose
it. With this mantra in mind, walk through your home with packing boxes in hand and decide what goes.
Get kids involved by letting them keep whatever they earn from selling their old toys and clothes, or
plan a fun family activity with the total proceeds.
¥ Spread the Word – Three days before the sale, place a classified advertisement in your newspaper and
post listings on local Web sites. Mention big-ticket and "hot" items such as toys and sporting
goods in your ads to stir up interest. Also, place a "Yard Sale" sign at the nearest major
intersection to capture drive-by traffic and post additional signs with arrows to point the way home. To
get your sign noticed, write in black letters on brightly colored card stock.
¥ Price to Move – If you’re not sure what to charge for items, take your cue from other yard sales or the
Salvation Army Donation Value Guide . Then, use black marker on blue painter’s tape (which is easily
removable) to price everything. If you’ve got a large collection of like items, such as books or CDs,
place them together in a bin and hang one price tag on the container (e.g. paperbacks 25 cents). Toss
odds and ends and anything not worth selling into a box with a "Free" sign. Once the sale
starts, remember, it’s better to sell low than not sell at all, so if people are walking away without
buying, lower your prices.
¥ Organization is Key-The more easily people can navigate your sale and test out items, the more they’ll
buy. Hang and sort all clothing by type (men’s, women’s, or shirts/pants), have a mirror handy if you’re
selling accessories and plug in a power cord to test electrical devices. Most importantly, have enough
space to display things properly. I recommend setting up on a few folding tables from Lifetime
Products—they can easily support heavier items and are UV-protected so the yard sale heat and sun won’t
hurt them. Consider setting up an extra table for selling home-baked goods and/or lemonade.
• Move your Stock — Have enough coins and bills to make change for at least three $20 notes, and carry
money, along with a calculator, in a fanny pack or apron for quick sales. Also keep a stack of newspaper
on hand for wrapping fragile items. When business starts to slow, close up shop and drive all remaining
items to the nearest donation place. Take down your signs on your way.
• Combine Efforts — Don’t have enough stuff for your own yard sale? Set a date one to two months out and
hand-deliver flyers inviting neighbors to participate in the sale. Split the cost of placing an
advertisement for a “Neighborhood Yard Sale” in the newspaper and have all participants post signs in
front of their house or tie balloons to their mailboxes on the day of the sale.